Archive for June, 2012

Artists working with the face and figure……Liu Xiaodong…

In 2008 the artist was commissioned to do a piece for the Boston Museum of Fine Art.  For the works he used nine high school seniors.

A great interview that features the artist talking about Chinese Contemporary Art from 1980s and 1990.

The artist the the Mary Boone Gallery having a show in 2008.

The artist was born in 1963  Liaoning Province in China. He is well known for painting the daily life and in China.  He is a narrative painter that tries to make the viewer think about the Chinese culture and ways of society.

Works with oils and acrylics  on canvas and paints very large pieces. Several works have sides larger than 100 inches.

low price range: $10,000

high price range:  The artist has sold a work at auction that was painted in oils titled  “Battlefield Realism.” The work was 79 inches by 39 inches and was done in oils. His record for an acrylic painting is $967,000 for a work titled ” Bathhouse series Number 1.”

The artist went to college in Beijing ,attending the Central Academy of Fine Arts, finishing college in 1988. He received a masters degree from the same university in 1995. The artist then moved to Spain to study fine arts at the Madrid Complutense in Madrid.

The artist has also dabbled in the film industry. He was a lead character in movie called the “The Days.” It was named one of the most important movies in the past 100 years by the British Broadcast Channel. In 2006 was the lead in a documentary titled ” Dong” which means “East.” It was entered in 2006 in the Venice Film festival. Has also been the director of art in the movie industry as well.

Currently lives in Beijing and is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.

What I enjoy about the artist is what I call emotional realism.  His brushwork seems loose and relaxed, yet his characters all have a great deal of emotion. In the work where the men are doing pull ups, the exertion of the men is so great it has made the bar have a curve to it, rather than being straight. In fact seldom if ever do you see a straight line in the artist’s work.

When painting the female figure the artist seems to exaggerate the sexiness of the women. Many times the canvas will show one solitary figure that is trying to lure men, be it for money or just for pleasure. The pig I included because I was reminded of the pigs painted by Jamie Wyeth. Wyeth’s pig paintings were warm and captured the happiness of an animal that takes mud baths and relaxes on the farm. Having visited many farms growing up in Montana I felt Wyeth captured the “pigginess” of just perfectly.

In contrast you have the pig painted by Xiaodong that looks lifeless and appears to have been caught in flood. Both works have the same subject matter, but both go in opposite directions and capture the feelings of the moment perfectly. One deals with life and vibrancy and the other with death, stillness, and quiet.

In true contemporary art fashion the artist painted a sexy person walking down the stairway and then by looking at the name of the work the viewer finds out that the person is a transsexual. The artist loves to push boundaries such as having all the naked men in the back of what seems to be  a truck. The piece is titled breaking rules.  Very creative artistic mind at work, I love it!

On line and land based galleries:  Mary Boone Gallery in New York City.

The artist mainly sells work at auctions.

Happy painting!


Artists working with the face and figure…….Cecelia Miguez…

The artist is known worldwide for her sculptures that she creates with cast bronze and found materials.

She was born in 1958 in Uruguay.

A brief clip showing the artist at Louis Stern Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

Short documentary on the artist.

What I enjoyed most about the clips, what you can’t find in magazines, is the sheer excitement and joy the artist gets when she is talking about her passion for art. Her facial expression of joy is priceless!

On line and land based galleries-  The Tirage Gallery in Pasadena, California.

Louis Stern Fine Arts  in West Hollywood, California.

The artist is best known for portraying abstract figurative works in both bronze and wood. The artist likes to mix in the theme of flight with the figure. She also uses found and recycled materials in her works.  The artist lives and works out of Los Angeles, California.  Also lives in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay. Raised in Uruguay her father an engineer and mother a home maker.  The artist enjoyed drawing and so she studied architecture. She gave up early on architecture as she felt in limited her creativity.

She moved to Spain to study art where she fell in love and got married. She moved to Los Angeles and ended up getting divorced but remained in California.

The artist is included in many public and private collection. Her work is in the Latin Museum of Art in Long Beach, California.  The artist is also included in the Long Beach Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montevideo, California. The late film director Billy Wilder commissioned several commissions.

I enjoy her work as its the characters are imagined, but where reality isn’t so stretched and different from that of a  human, thus making all the works resonate with the viewer. Its great to see the figures she creates out of found objects.

The artist made a great point about visual artists in one of the  interview clips posted above.  She thinks sometimes visual artists have trouble explaining their thesis or feelings behind a work.  As artists we make what we can’t explain easily.

The artist is more about emotions that she can infuse into her characters. And the smile that she got when talking about using found objects in her artwork. She was fascinated by using the found objects as they were made for an entirely different use, and all of the sudden the objects are used as a layer in her artwork. I found this description to fit my feelings towards artists that use recycled material in their works.

If you like this artist be sure and check out the artist Deborah Butterfield who makes very large works also mixing casting with found objects. Butterfield specializes in making horses rather than the human figure but her works are extraordinary in their originality.

I hope you are inspired to create an artwork using recycled materials!

Summer is here! Create!


Artists working with the face and figure……Zhou Jinhua

A clip showing the artist preparing for a gallery show.

The artist was born in Deyang, China in 1978.

Attended college at the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts in Chongking, China. Now lives and works in Beijing and Chongking, China.

On line and land based galleries:   White Rabbit Gallery in   Chippendale in New South Wales, Australia.

When I think of this artist I think of the large groups of people, a large mass involved in a unique situation.  The artist mixes realism with imagination and spectacular vantage points.  If ever there was an artist who painted scenes from a birds eye view, HERE HE IS.

I enjoy his vantage point and sometimes the viewer can even experience a feeling of falling. Comic book artists in general do a great deal of drawing the figure from unique view points, but this artist is as good as it gets for painting in this manner with oils and acrylics.  The artist is also great at making his compositions and the people in them flow in one direction, the viewers eye is always asking questions.

The subject might be enjoying a great day on a beach, but in the painting’s reality it is only a bathtub.  Zhou Jinhua is also great at making the viewer smile and laugh.

An artlink address for the artist :

high price range: acrylics $20,000

low price range: $8,000 oils

The artist loves to mix two of his favorite mediums, photography ( for the aerial shots) and ancient Chinese calligraphy to give his works tremendous flow and movement. As a young boy when he received his first camera he immediately went out climbing to the tops of roofs, bridges,  and trees just to take pictures. Paints very large canvases.

Looking deeper into the artist’s work lets analyze the people.  Each is painted individually, not as a group. Many are going there own separate paths and sometimes even characters that are standing next to each other have shadows going in different directions.

A direct quote from the artist for his use of the bird’s eye view,” The bird’s eye view I use for my pictures is not a position of power for me- I need distance from the event in order to understand whats happening there.”

Drawing groups of people and making them interesting is one of the toughest tasks you can have as an artist. Some pointers. Start in the background and use greys for clothes in the distance, in the foreground use some complimentary colors.  Some great painters of groups include the Italian artist Giotto.  My favorite modern day painter of groups would be Joseph Zbukvic.

Try an aerial view work today!

Inhale, Exhale, CREATE!


Artists working with the face and figure…..Willie Kissmer



A short clip showing the many works of the artist.  See the many close up and cropped views of the female figure. Most of the time twisting with skin tight clothing. I found his work to be very sensual and moving despite the fact the viewer never makes contact with a face, only the figure.

A real treat here!  For the first time I have  a visual artist making music!  BroselMaschine, the band formed by the artist in the 1970s, singing. They were known for singing in a folk music style with lyrics in German and English.If you do a youtube search for BroselMaschine you will find many clips to amuse yourself!

Willi Kissmer deals mainly with the female torso. Much the same way another artist I have written about, John Kacere, the artist is known for the torso and most of the time the skin is covered with a skin tight fabric.  Most of the artist’s work is a mixture of etchings and aquatints. Occasionally he paints with oils on paper.

The artist was born in Duisberg, Germany in 1951.  As a teen he didn’t know what dream to chase. Should he be a visual artist or a musician?

The artist studied art and printmaking in college. Attended college at the University of Essen and the University of Duisberg. The artist did achieve success as a musician as well.  Kissmer the guitarist has released three albums.

The artist considers his figure works still lifes.  The artist loves to play up the light, textures, and folds of the skin.

On line and land based gallery:   Avalon Gallery located in Carmel by the Sea, California.

Kelly’s Fine Art in Alexandria, Virginia.

Onessimo in Palm Beach, Florida.     This webpage is great as it talks about etchings, drypoints, mezzotints and the different processes used for each.

A link to his own website:                      I highly recommend to visit the artist’s website. You can view the artist’s studio and get a sense of the many mediums he uses in his works.

low priced range: $500 for a print

high priced range:   Does have original oils on paper works out as well as bronzes. Bronzes are between seven to ten thousand dollars.

From a design standpoint the artist stands out as fantastic painter of fabric. His use of folds in the drapery make the viewer feel as if they are looking at a live and breathing human torso. The artist believes clothes and fabrics emanates calmness. When you add in the wonderful curves of the female body such as the thigh, the waist, or the breasts and the long straight lines of the fabric and folds its a feast for the eyes!

For some art home work try designing a work with only the female torso and clothes. Play the straight folds of the clothes off the curved shapes of the female figure.

Happy painting!


Artists working with the face and figure….Daniel Merriam…

This artist might be considered a modern day Dali clone, many of his figures are of the fantasy type.

A video of the artist drawing in France.

Around 4 minute video showing works of the artist.

Second part of the Art of Daniel Merriam.

low price range: many books  starting below $100 as well as calenders.

high price range: original watercolors or acrylics sell for 3,000 to 6,000 for the most part. As well as painting the figure the artist is also adept at painting houses. Most are Victorian in style and exude some elements of fantasy. The artist works mainly with watercolors and uses a dry brush method giving his works an oil painting like quality. For most artists houses are quite difficult and I think its because of so many straight lines that are used. If you see works by this artist or others such as Richard Schmid, notice the many varieties of greys and think of the different techniques used to make a straight edge. The back of knife, a finger, a comb brush, anything can be used to make a nice edge.

The artist was born in York, Maine in 1963.  The artist was one of seven children. He taught himself how to draw and paint when he was still a child.

Studied mechanical and architectural design. He then got into architectural design in the family design firm.  At was at the urging of his boss, his father, that the artist started to chase his dream of being a professional artist.

The artist then moved on to doing commercial work. He did both commercial illustration work and architectural design work. In 1987 he changed his focus on becoming a gallery level artist.

Has had over one hundred exhibitions world wide.

The artist has some books that are collectors items you can find on amazon many for one hundred dollars or less. The artist has been featured in national art magazines such as Watercolor Magic, Art and Antiques and American Art Collector.

The artist has won many awards for his illustrations.

A link to the artist’s own personal website:

The artist also produces sculptures. For a nine by 22 inch work in marble expect to pay around $9,000.

The Victorian style houses you see in his works are drawn from his childhood. He grew up in Naples, Maine and the town had not only Victorian style houses, but Gingerbread, and Colonial styles as well.

Of all the works of art produced by this artist I find the houses the funnest to look at. Very atmospheric and the houses seem to have a great sense of depth developed   by a mixture of greys.

One line and land based gallery: Visions Fine Art Gallery in Sedona, Arizona.

Try and creating a surrealistic painting today. For inspiration refer to this artist, Salvador Dali, and Leonora Corrington.

Happy painting!


Artists working with the face and figure…. Norman Rockwell…..


For sure this is one of America’s most beloved artists. He was a highly productive painter and and produced more than four thousand works over his lifetime.

From a design stand point I enjoy the interaction of the figures he paints. Be it a young child whose face is red from playing tag or an old person in a barber’s chair getting a haircut the artist was great at portraying expression. Most interesting for me are his self portraits and in fact in one painting he portrayed himself three times in the picture.

Some works by the artist and the last picture is the image where the artist has portrayed himself three times in the painting.

A museum piece made in 2007 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts where the artist lived from 1953 until his death in 1978.

Part two of the Stockbridge, MA museum interview.

Part three of the interview.

The artist was born in 1894 in New York City.

He painted his first commission at sixteen years of age.  Illustrated his first book  only one year later at seventeen years of age.  He created many illustrations and some of his most famous work was done as the lead illustrator of the Saturday Evening Post. He worked at this position for more than forty years. He also did illustrations for Boy Scouts of America and Boys’ Life. Illustrated forty books in his lifetime.

As an illustrator he designed calenders, greeting cards, posters, books, sheet music, stamps, and even painted murals. The artist was well schooled in a variety of mediums working in charcoal, watercolor, gouache, and oils.

low price range: many lithograph prints sell in the hundreds of dollars. Sometimes great prints can be found for five hundred dollars.

high price range: $15. 4 million for a painting titled Breaking Home Ties.

Many art critics didn’t take the artist seriously as a fine artist for all his illustration work. Some critics thought the work was too sweet or had too much kitsch, the same problem that plagued Thomas Kinkade. For me Rockwell was far better at designing and painting than Kinkade. At least with Rockwell you don’t have paintings with light coming from all directions.

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg each own some of the artist’s work. Spielberg owns a sketch of the triple portrait work.  Both men have the artist’s work in their offices and where they work daily. Norman Rockwell is even a character in the Chronicles of Young Indiana Jones.

Attended college at the National Academy of Design as well as the Art Students League of New York.

Passed away in 1978 aged 84 years old.

I encourage you to look at the many great figurative works made by the artist. Check out or purchase a book of his art, its fantastic!







Artists working with the face and figure……Khosrow Hassanzedah

This artist hails from Iran. He was born 1963 in Tehran, Iran.

He has gained worldwide fame for his silkscreens that feature terrorists. In this sense his works remind me of the riot scenes that Warhol made when the nation was going thru extreme racial difficulties.

I enjoy his work and it strikes me as something Warhol might produce if he were still with us.

A clip from New York City’s Leila Heller Gallery and a show featuring the artist that took place in March of this year.

The artist and some multi media box art works he made a few years ago.

The artist still lives in Tehran and works as a visual artist and also an actor. In Iran he is labeled as a political artist. He has used his own experiences during a war as  a basis for some of his paintings.  He even used prostitutes that were murdered in a city called Mashad as a basis for some artworks.

The artist makes a wide variety of prints and uses mediums such as silkscreen, gold and silver leaf, as well as making images on unique surfaces such as ceramic. He also paints with acrylics.

Attended college in Tehran from 1989 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1999. He studied Persian literature at Azad University. Also took private art lessons from Aydeen Aghdashlou.

low price range: $5,000

high price range: $ 70,000

surfaces used:  canvas, board, ceramic

Due to uprisings against governments I would imagine it very difficult to be an artist dealing with negative thoughts or ideas about a government. In some countries you might be jailed or beaten for expressing any dissents you have about the government. This was the case with China’s most famous artist Ai Weiwei. He was beaten and had to pay a large fine for tax evasion. To be a political artist in countries like China, Iran, or North Korea can be life threatening. One can only hope that eventually the artists are able to live in an environment that allows them to produce their art without having any restrictions or fear of reproach.

Online and land based galleries:  New York City    Leila Heller Gallery     

Fought in the Iran and Iraq wars in the early 1980s and 1990s.

Has works in the British Museum, the World Bank in Washington D.C., and Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

From this artist we can learn how to use mixed media to make wonderful designs. Knowing nothing about the meaning of the calligraphic words and marks I see in the artist’s work, their curves and designs are great accents to the figure he uses.  His gold leaf patterns are magnificent.

Happy painting!


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